Routine mammograms are safe and save lives, right?

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

June 15, 2020



Every woman should get an annual mammogram just to be smart. That’s what doctors have told us for years. Now, the truth is finally coming out.

Annual mammograms not only do not save lives, they might actually be taking them. Hard to believe?

Even conventional medicine is coming around to what I’ve been saying for decades. Check out this study published in the highly prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors of the study looked at the statistics of early stage and late-stage breast cancer in women older than 40 years.

First they determined the statistics before the use of routine mammograms. Then they compared them to the statistics after routine mammograms.

What They Found Is Pretty Shocking

Since routine mammograms started in the United States, the testing has reduced the number of women who get late-stage cancer by only eight women out of every 100,000 who get them!

Let’s put that another way ... this really drives it home.

This means that the odds of a woman preventing herself from getting late-stage breast cancer by having regular mammograms are a paltry 1 in 12,500. Talk about a useless test. But it gets worse.

The statistics also show that over the past 30 years since routine mammography has become established as the rule of the day, the test has “over-diagnosed” 1.3 million women!

By “over-diagnosed” the authors mean “tumors that are detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms.”

According to the authors’ estimates in 2008 alone, mammograms over-diagnosed more than 70,000 women with breast cancer. That number counts for an absolutely astounding 31% of all breast cancer cases!

And it means that 31% of all women receiving treatment for breast cancer discovered on routine mammograms are getting treatments that they did not need.

I don’t need to remind you that the treatments used on these women are by their very nature dangerous and life-threatening in themselves.

Think of it. Every year in the United States 70,000 plus women undergo dangerous and life-threatening cancer treatments for no reason at all simply because of routine mammograms.

You might remember that I told you a few years ago about a European study that showed that the death rate from breast cancer was twice as high in Sweden as it is in neighboring Norway.

What’s the difference? The women in Sweden got routine mammograms. The women in Norway didn’t.

In order for any disease-screening test to be helpful, it must achieve two goals. First, it must increase the early detection of the disease. And second, it must decrease the number of people who get the later stages of the disease.

Mammograms accomplish the first goal too well. They result in a dramatic over-diagnosis that is probably either taking the lives or ruining the lives of thousands of women every year. And they essentially do nothing to accomplish the second goal.

These startling facts can best be summed up by the authors of the study, “Although it is not certain which women have been affected, the imbalance suggests that there is substantial over-diagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer.”

So What Should Women Do to Prevent Dying From Breast Cancer?

I have talked about it many times before. But here are the basics:

1. Avoid routine mammograms.

2. Take one capsule of concentrated fish oil every day.

3. Take 12.5 mg of Iodoral (iodine) per day.

4. Start taking progesterone cream when you are 45 years old.

5. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy (highly recommended), be sure that you are taking properly balanced, bio-identical hormones.

6. If you are over 45 years old, take melatonin every night.

7. Take enough vitamin D to get your blood levels above 65 ng/ml. Usually 5,000 IU daily.

8. Eat at least four servings of any of the following vegetables every week: cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. And concentrate on a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate diet.

9. Have a professional breast examination every year (not with mammograms) – preferably a thermogram.

10. Examine your breasts every month while bathing. In menstruating women, this should be done in the week immediately after the menstrual flow stops.

I estimate from the available statistics that taking these measures will reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer by a factor of 10.



Bleyer, A. and H.G. Welch. “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence,” N Engl J Med, 2012; 367:1998-2005, November 22, 2012.

Autier, P., M. Boniol, A. Gavin, and L.J. Vatten. “Breast cancer mortality in neighbouring European countries with different levels of screening but similar access to treatment: trend analysis of WHO

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